By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin last week voted to pass the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022, a bipartisan bill to make sure federal firefighters have access to workers’ compensation benefits for illness and disease that may result from their important work.
Currently, workers’ compensation laws in 49 states, including Michigan, provide firefighters with a presumption that certain diseases are work-related. However, no such law covers the approximately 15,000 firefighters employed by the federal government.
“Yes, this is great news for all of the federal firefighters serving and protecting all of us throughout the United States,” said Independence Township Fire Chief Dave Piche. “Presumption, relative to the health of firefighters, is and continues to be extremely important to the overall healthcare of all firefighters. Kudos to Rep. Slotkin for her support.”
“Michigan’s firefighters are constantly putting themselves at risk to keep our communities safe, and the challenges of the pandemic have made their job more challenging – and all the more important – over the last two years,” added Slotkin. “Right now, our state and local firefighters are entitled to important workers’ compensation if they get sick from the toxins they’re constantly exposed to on the job, but federal firefighters don’t have that same status.
“These brave men and women are our first responders when a crisis hits, and we owe them the same level of care as we do to the local firefighters in our own neighborhoods. I’m proud that the House has passed this bill and I hope the Senate will quickly do the same so we can fix this imbalance.”
In Congress, Slotkin continues to be a staunch advocate for Michigan’s firefighters.